What made Chef’s Table such a hit was how it revealed the care and knowledge that went into designing something we so often take for granted. With Netflix’s forthcoming documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design, the trailer for which is above, the streaming titan seems to be following in the footsteps of the earlier show but expanding the scope far beyond the culinary arts. Abstract will feature areas as varied as graphic design, architecture, illustration, photography, shoe design and many others, focusing specifically on the method of one master within each field (for the listed fields, the featured movers and shakers are, respectively, Paula Scher, Bjarke Ingels, Christoph Neimann, Platon and Tinker Hatfield).
The trailer foretells a filmmaking approach similar to that of Chef’s Table—a talking heads interview format that gives the floor to the experts; crisp, unfussy cinematography that captures the artist’s designs with maximum clarity; and creative interludes (e.g. an ad-like animation of a Nike sneaker moving of its own accord, a slo-mo shot of one of the artist’s in seeming free fall) to add dramatic and/or expository oomph.
And of course, the show’s title sounds pretty much perfect. Just like a scholarly abstract condenses long and complex processes and ideas into a digestible summary, so Abstract will presumably do the same for the virtuosic work of its artist subjects. Additionally, “abstract” describes the realm of the mind, the zone where inspiration strikes, and if the new show is anything like Chef’s Table, it will walk us through not only how the products were physically designed but the creative thinking that went into making them.
Check out the full trailer above. Abstract will be screening its first episode at Sundance on Jan. 21 and hitting Netflix on Feb. 10.